The Global Language of Business

GS1 Application Identifiers

GS1 Application Identifiers are a finite set of defined identifiers used to connect physical things and logical things to information or business messages related to them. The definitions for them reside in a standard called the GS1 General Specifications that is available from GS1 Member Organizations.

Key Concepts

  • There are over 100 Application Identifiers (AI)
  • Each Application Identifier (AI) has a two, three, or four digit numeric Prefix in front of the data to tell what the data means. For example, the AI for Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC) is (00) and for : Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) it is (01)
  • GS1-128, GS1 DataBar , GS1 DataMatrix, GS1 QR Code and Composite Component can carry AIs
  • More than one AI can be carried in one bar code. When this happens, AIs with a fixed length data content (e.g., SSCC has a fixed length of 18 digits) are placed at the beginning and AI with variable lengths are placed at the end. If more than one variable length AI is placed in one bar code, then a special "function" character is used to tell the scanner system when one ends and the other one starts.
  • Each bar code has a corresponding text line for the encoded AI(s). The AI Prefixes appear in parentheses - e.g., GTIN (01)10614141000019
  • Several AIs are used for the GS1 Identification Keys (examples include: Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), Global Location Number (GLN), Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC), etc.)
  • AIs exist for trade item attributes, such as: variable count, net weight, lot number, and expiry date
  • AIs exist for logistic unit attributes, such as: count of trade items contained, gross weight, gross volume, routing code, etc.
  • The balance are used for special purposes, for example: Shipment Identification, Consignment Identification, Couponing, Refund Receipts, Electronic Serial Identification for Cellular Mobile Telephones, Internal Use, Payment Slips, and Customer Specified Articles, etc.

Key Questions